Thursday, June 9, 2016

A working girl's job history

Not long ago, my friend Rena was reminiscing and listed all the titles she's held in her working life. It got me thinking about my own employment resume. If you count babysitting, I've been working since I was 11 or 12.  If not, then I started at 13.

That's a lot of years of collecting paychecks for various duties performed. And I do mean various. Here is a look at all the jobs I've held in my life.

Babysitter - I babysat for a few different families in my early teenage years. Some I liked more than others. I mostly took care of school age kids. And my job, really, was just to make sure the siblings didn't kill each other.

Detassler - I'm fairly certain this is a right of passage in Iowa. My job was to pull the tassels off certain rows of corn so they can "mate" with the right varieties of corn. Sounds like a blast, right?  I only made it one summer of this. I was too short (easily lost in the corn fields), and I did not like getting wet and muddy.

Retail associate - I was a cashier and stock associate at a Bugle Boy outlet store. It was miserable. Mostly because of my manager, I think.

Waitress - I worked at Happy Chef, which is a family restaurant that's open 24 hours. Those overnight shifts were rough.  I was only 16 or 17, but for some reason no one blinked that I was working 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Grocery store clerk - Tired of the overnight hours, I went to work for my hometown grocery store. The shifts were more reasonable, and the people who owned the store were really nice. I stayed there until I graduated high school, working a few evenings and most weekends.

Fast food worker - Yep, I worked at McDonald's. For two summers (and occasional breaks) during college. It wasn't all that bad, honestly.

Information desk attendant - This was my work study job on campus. My duties included directing campus visitors to the correct building or hallway and providing phone numbers when people called in for them. I wonder if this person is obsolete now.

Concession stand worker - After college, I didn't immediately find a full-time job, but I needed to make some money. And I wanted to get out of the house occasionally.  So on Saturday nights, I worked in the concession stand at a local race track.

General assignment reporter - My first big kid job!! I covered crime, courts, agriculture, and the local junior college for a daily newspaper in Texas. I also did layout on a rotating schedule. Even though I'd been the managing editor of my college newspaper, I was not fully prepared for this job. I learned so much in a hurry. And put in some really long days.  It was not uncommon for me to work 10 a.m. to midnight.

Managing Editor - I moved on to another daily newspaper and was originally hired as a news writer. But three days in, the managing editor just ... stopped showing up.  I assumed the role and stayed in it for two years until I moved back to Iowa, where I became the managing editor of a weekly newspaper. I stayed there for almost five years.

Creative & Marketing Writer - I was nearing the point of burnout in the newspaper industry, so I decided to try my hand at a different style of writing in the marketing office of a university. It was a huge change. My job now was to entice students to enroll at the college or to compel alumni to give money. There was also the occasional feature (my favorite) and news piece. It was interesting work, and I enjoyed the academic setting, but it didn't prove to be a good fit for me.

Communications Specialist - In one of my temp jobs, I spent three months in corporate communications. After so much time spent in the fast-paced newspaper field, this was just too slow for me. I could not find enough to stay busy. The position was just a test one anyway, and they figured out they did not need that role. Or me. This is pretty much when I gave up on communications and writing as my career.

Loan Processing Specialist - My second temp job was with the same company that had just eliminated the communications specialist job. But in a different building and a completely different role. I evaluated mortgage documents to see if borrowers were correctly charged for the various fees involved in a mortgage. If the numbers were incorrect, I made the proper contacts to rectify the situation.

Subrogation Specialist - This is my current full-time job. But I've done it at two different companies. For those who are confused, basically I work with insurance claims (largely auto claims). When our insured is in an accident that is not their fault, I pursue the at-fault party to recover damages incurred by our insured. When I started, I had no idea what subrogation was. I'm pretty well-versed in what it means now, but there are still constant challenges. That's a good thing though. I never want to get complacent in my job. Comfortable, but not bored.

Library Circulation Clerk - One of my current part-time gigs. I check in returned materials (books, movies, video games, puppets, learning materials, etc.) and get them ready for pre-shelving. I also perform check out duties. On the rare occasion I have some downtime, I have other projects that include processing books that are being withdrawn from the collection and checking various areas of the library to make sure things are still in the correct place.

Beertender - Another one of my current part-time jobs. I pour beer and take money. I also wash a lot of glassware. I have some beer knowledge too, so occasionally I help someone find a beer they like. That's a really fun part of my job. And I really enjoy meeting and talking with new people.

So ... there's a very wordy snapshot of all the jobs I've held in my life.

What are some of yours?


  1. When I stopped by BV last summer, there was a girl sitting at the info desk - so it must not be eliminated yet! - Jen

  2. That is an impressive resume. I think my list of jobs would be quite extensive. I will "borrow" this post idea and do this in a few days.

  3. I'm from Minnesota and didn't realize there was a job to detassle corn until now. How?

  4. That's an interesting job history. I might have to use this idea...Although I really can't compete with "Detassler."


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